Digital sports media company, Mars Reel, which has focused on high-school basketball, said it completed raising an initial $4.7 million in funding led by Otter Media, recently acquired by AT&T.
Mars Reel also got investments from recording artist Drake and NBA star Dwayne Wade.
Founded by Brandon and Bradley Deyo, Mars Reel started out producing and distributing “snackable” high school hoops highlights. It is evolving into longer-form programs on up-and-coming players and its documentary series Life on Mars.
The company distributes its content on social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat. It also has deals with traditional distribution partners such as USA Today Sports.
“Having an outstanding track record for finding, developing and investing in successful digital brands, we are very excited to have the support of Otter Media as we expand our business and move into additional sports categories,” said CEO Brandon Deyo, .
Otter Media, now part of AT&T WarnerMedia unit, will provide advice and be a strategic partner for Mars
“Sports brings out a passion and engagement in fans that is unmatched, and Mars Reel is super-serving the younger generation of sports enthusiasts by giving them authentic sports content that is organic to their world and designed specifically to their unique viewing habits,” said Tony Goncalves, CEO, Otter Media. “Mars Reel is a true innovator and we are excited to invest in young, passionate entrepreneurs like Brandon and Bradley who know and understand their audience.”
Otter Media owns Ellation, and its Crunchyroll and VRV brands, Fullscreen and Rooster Teeth. Otter also owns stakes in Gunpowder & Sky and Hello Sunshine.
Before Drake and Wade, ballers LeBron James and Kevin Durant and hip-hop’s Nas were investors in Mars Reel. Other investors who helped the company raise the first $2.7 million of the $4.7 million are digital and media executives Maverick Carter, Devin Johnson, Steve Stoute and Bruce Tuchman. The lead investor is Robert Hisaoka and Jerry Hall is chairman of Mars Reel.